Banner Academy for Undergraduate Enhancement Division of Undergraduate Education

Moving into Your First Dorm

UK Dorm

You’re moving to college, so now instead of worrying about decorating your locker, you’re thinking about how to decorate your new dorm room! While you’re deciding what layout will work best in your dorm or how you’re going to possibly fit all of your clothes in a tiny closet, there are a few things that students tend to forget when they come to campus the first time. We’re here to help remind you of these basic, but very forgettable items so you don’t have to call mom for a care package or run to the store for silly things all the time!

  1. Can opener- For some reason I just didn’t think to bring one and I was very disappointed when I couldn’t open my canned ravioli.
  2. Filtered water bottle- The tap water from the dorms can sometimes be unpleasant, so use a filtered water bottle to stay hydrated. Plus it’s annoying to have to carry packs of water from your car to your dorm, so just use a reusable bottle instead.   
  3. Cleaning Supplies- Specifically a small vacuum or Swiffer. There was one girl on our floor who had a vacuum and everyone became friends with her because we were always going to her room to borrow it.
  4. Band-Aids
  5. Surge protector power strip- Make sure you check with the policies so that it is approved by your dorm!
  6. 3M Command Strips- Bring lots of them! It’s how you will hang keys, towels, jewelry, pictures, and anything else you can think of! I had a friend who made a holder for his phone out of Command Strips next to the outlet so he could easily charge his phone.
  7. Trashcan for your room- Talk with your roommate if you want to bring one each or just have one central one in your dorm.
  8. Umbrella- Make sure it’s a sturdy one! The winds around campus, especially around the classroom buildings and the South Campus towers can break a weak umbrella in no time, so make sure you buy one that will last.
  9. Batteries- You’ll need batteries for miscellaneous things all semester, like your remote or even your calculator. Its better to buy them ahead of time so you aren’t without a calculator in the middle of your math test.
  10. Silverware- Plastic or real. My roommate and I each just bought two of each type of silverware and just washed them after we used them.  I knew some people on my floor who just kept buying plastic, its whatever your preference is!
  11. Ethernet cord- Dorm Wifi can be spotty sometimes, make it easier on yourself by using an Ethernet cord to make it easier to connect to your internet.
  12. Shower shoes- Community bathrooms in the dorms can sometimes be gross so come prepared with shower flip-flops to make your experience a little better.
  13. Medicines- Bring the basics. Mom won’t have her fully-stocked medicine cabinet around when you get sick during the semester. Bring medicines like Advil, cold medicine, or if you have bad allergies, some allergy medicine.  
  14. Extra ink for your printer- Again its better to be prepared so you aren’t trying to print your paper right before your class only to realize you’re all out of ink.
  15. Basic tools- You’ll probably find you need some basic tools throughout the semester so bring along a hammer, screwdriver, and some pliers to get you through. You never know what’s going to break or if you have to put something together.
  16. Hand sanitizer- Sometimes it can be difficult to stay healthy when living so close to so many people, so take extra precautions so you aren’t getting sick around your exams.

I know some of these things seem silly, but it’s amazing the amount of things you have to remember while you’re packing and moving. I remember my roommate and I stealing plastic silverware from the cafeteria for a good part of our first semester before we bought some real ones.

Along with commonly forgotten things, there is a whole list of things students bring that they don’ t really need.

  1. A bunch of T-shirts- try to limit yourself to 5 or 10, you will be getting so many free T-shirts around campus you won’t know what to do with them.
  2. Winter clothing- Your dorm will be small and it will be challenging to fit all of your clothes in that tiny closet they provide. Try to strategically pack clothing you will need for the first semester, and then swap out your wardrobe when you go home and the season is changing.
  3. Quarters- You may hear that you are going to need tons of quarters to do your laundry and whatnot, but now everything is digital. The machines at UK take money from your WildCard Plus Account instead of using quarters.
  4. Ironing board Or iron- These take up so much space, and there is wrinkle release spray out there that you can use as an alternative
  5. Candles- They aren’t allowed in the dorms, so use a Febreze spray instead.
  6. Small appliances- A lot of students bring toasters or coffee makers and sometimes they find that they never end up using them and they just take up a lot of valuable space. I would suggest just waiting to see what you will actually need after living in the dorms for a couple weeks instead of bringing it all before.

Make sure to talk to your roommate and discuss things you are both bringing so you don’t duplicate large items. Storage space is very valuable in the dorms so you’ll want to save space. Freshmen year is going to be a blast, so make the beginning a little easier by not forgetting these basic items and not packing unnecessary items as well. Moving can be very hectic, so hopefully this list keeps you on track!